From: Chianti Montalbano, Italy
Varietals: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Colorino
Taste: An extremely pretty wine— one any lover of cool-climate red wines needs in their life. Seriously. Do you love Piemonte, Alto-Piemonte, alpine, Loire/Savoie/Burgundian-esque wines? Is Pinot Noir usually your “thing”? Are you always in search of fresh, “should be served slightly-chilled” reds? Do high octane, over-oaked, baked-fruit wines turn you off? Well, wine friends, this charmingly fresh Chianti Montalbano is going to float your boat. And, even better, it's under $20/bottle. In the glass, red berries, rose and violets aromas abound. The mouthfeel is very fresh and pleasantly harmonic. In the glass, red berries, rose and violets aromas abound. The mouthfeel is very fresh and balanced, with pure fruit tannins that’ll keep you coming back for more.
Pairing: Beef tartare, carpaccio, pasta, Mediterranean fare, fresh summer produce, kebabs, bbq, dishes that incorporate basil, rosemary, and thyme. You get the idea. To sum it up, we love this quote from Wine Folly: “Chianti wine is as essential to Italian cuisine as extra virgin olive oil. There are few pleasures as distinct as a tart, spicy, herbaceous Chianti wine next to a plate of sliced prosciutto or pasta al Pomodoro.” Speaking of which, check out this recipe for Pasta al Pomodoro, by Eric Kim. It should be noted that this dish is best when in season, and that the times used in the recipe should be noted as a general guide, as each season contributes produce different than the last. When we made this dish, two minutes tossed in the sauce and three-ish minutes sitting after cooking seemed to be the perfect amount of time (as opposed to the suggested five minutes of sitting).
The winery. The Artimino Estate, belonging to the Olmo family since the 1980s, has been producing wine and oil since Etruscan times. The property, 700 hectares immersed in the Tuscan countryside, has within it the famous Medici villa 'La Ferdinanda', built in 1596 and a UNESCO heritage site. From the 80 hectares of vineyards cultivated mainly with Sangiovese grapes come the estate's famous wines: already appreciated in past centuries by the Medici family, today they keep alive the bond with the territory and its oenological history.
The area. Chianti Montalbano is one of Chianti's seven subzones, covering a chain of hills to the west of Florence. Its Sangiovese-based wines fall under the iconic DOCG, but Montalbano as a whole is overshadowed by the Carmignano DOCG (keep going for more on Carmignano), with which it overlaps. Chianti Montalbano wines tend to be light and fruit-driven, and quite different to those of the separate Chianti Classico DOCG, and Carmignano with its higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The vineyards of Montalbano are situated on hills in the province of Prato west of Florence and the south of Pistoia. Generally, Montalbano wines come from vineyards on the western side of the hills, while Carmignano's vineyard land is on the eastern slopes. This production zone is also located near Vinci, which was once the home town of Leonardo da Vinci during the Renaissance era.
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